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2006 Season Review

Another year, another list of heroes and remarkable distance cycling adventures and achievements...

For the club as a whole, the total distance figure, 190,752 km, is not much of a surprise - up from last year, but down a little from 2004 (a Rocky Mt. 1200 year), and down a little more from 2003 (a Paris Brest Paris year) - but there were nevertheless some interesting stats and trends. 2006 saw the greatest number of Super Randonneurs in a non PBP year (43), and also the most riders (48), in a non-PBP year, making it onto the Hathaway ("iron butt") list by riding 1500 km or more. Curiously, there were more 200 kms ridden this year than ever before (232), and almost the most 400s (83), though 1000 km brevets were down noticeably - only 11.

2006 saw the introduction of a major new life-time distance award - the 40,000 medal. Club members who complete 40,000 km in ACP/RM sanctioned events are eligible. Why 40,000 km? It turns out that 40,000 km is almost exactly the circumference of the planet... if you ride around the world once (in events), you're on the list. To the eight pre-existing qualifiers, this season saw two additional riders added to the list of medal recipients - Peter Stary and Karen Smith. The medal was also designed by Karen Smith based on the concept by Karen and Michel Richard.

Speaking of milestones... and also of Peter Stary... this veteran randonneur became the first BC rider to have earned 20 super randonneur medals (200, 300, 400 & 600 km brevets in one season.) Close behind Peter is Ken Bonner who, interestingly, has ridden the exact same 19 consecutive super rando seasons (1988-2006) as Peter, but Peter also had one in 1986. Congratulations Peter!

Congratulations also to the eight first-time super randonneurs in 2006: Tracy Barill, Leif Bjorseth, Luke Galley, Steve Lonergan, Jeff Mudrakoff, Ray Parker, Alex Pope and Nigel Press. It was Luc Galley who, using a combination of Island and Mainland brevets, earned bragging rights as "top rookie" (the first-time SR with the most distance). Luc's 3400 km just edges out Jeff Mudrakoff's 3200 - Nigel Press was next at 2600 km. Well done everyone.

There was one final recipient of the Brevet Randonneur 5000 award this PBP cycle. Wim Kok rode a Washington State 1000 km this season as his final compulsory component to earn this prestigious Audax Club Parisien award. That makes a total of 18 BC Randonneurs who have received BR5000 awards attached to PBP 2003.

On a sad note, 2006 saw the passing of Tim Pollock at the age of 81. Long-time club members will remember Tim as one of the key figures that kept the club together in the mid and late nineties, and over that period he wore many hats - secretary, treasurer, database guy, ride organizer and the person who penned our club constitution and bylaws in 1996. But perhaps the real story of his passing was the revelation of the fascinating life he had lived before randonneuring that so many of us knew so little about when he was alive. He will be greatly missed.

It was also a little sad saying good bye to Scott and Melissa who moved to Melbourne, Australia. In a few short years they made their mark as riders, super-involved volunteers, and friends.

BC riders didn't travel far beyond our borders to ride brevets in 2007. Only Doug Latornell and Susan Allen rode brevets away from North America - a 300 km, Mildenhall, UK.

Outside the boundaries of our sport, Alex Pope used his summer brevets to train for the BC Track Championships, and won the masters 3000m Pursuit title, along with other high placings.

Pat Martel, Roger Holt, and incoming club president Gray Baker all had bad crashes in 2006 - all were signed up for the VanIsle 1200, all had to withdraw. There was some reconstruction necessary and varying recovery times were endured. But there's no keeping our riders on the side lines for long ...iron willed, steely determination... and as it turns out, steel enhanced bodies also (there are still a few pins still holding these guys together.) Just watch for all three in 2007.

Special Mention to two of our Seattle boys, Ron Himschoot (5393 km) and Ken Carter (5129 km), who weighed in at nos. 2 & 3 on this year's iron butt list. They covered roads throughout the Pacific Northwest on the way to completing or exceeding super rando series in BC, Washington, and (almost) in Oregon.

What is there left to say about Mr. Iron Butt himself, Ken Bonner? 2006 was his 5th consecutive year as winner of the Hathaway ("Iron Butt") Award (event total 10, 271). It was his second year in a row finishing all four North American 1200s (fastest time was CLC - Colorado Last Chance 1200 - first finisher in 56:27). But the riding that really turned the ultra cycling world upside down was his quest for a one-year distance total exceeding 50,000 km / 30,000 miles. In the Ultra Marathon Cycling Association's "year-rounder" challenge, Ken's 31,444 miles was over 20,000 MILES more than the next person on the 2006 list, and 5000 miles more than the previous high water mark in the year-rounder's history (Luc Viau registered 26,047 miles in 2002.) Ken's remarkable total was achieved using a combination of personal centuries, double centuries, and scheduled brevets. His final century count (imperial centuries - 100 miles or 160 km) was 224, which is probably itself a new record. [Somebody told me that 1984 & 86 RAAM winner Pete Penseyres had ridden something like 168 centuries in one year, and that this was the record. I can't find any verification.]

Ken's distance total for the Canadian Kilometer Achievement's reckoning was 50,934, easily enough to secure top C-KAP honours for the second year in a row, and also to set a new C-KAP distance record by over 8,000 km. (Larry/Lawrence Schwartz had logged 42,020 km in 2002.) Most remarkable of all were perhaps the conditions Ken faced - a significant proportion of the riding happened during the heavy rains, high winds, and snow that ravaged southwestern BC in November and December. In an October 26th message Ken made his focus clear: "I am not riding any more brevets this year. I am, however, riding imperial centuries (and sometimes double centuries) every day until Dec. 21." [Dec 21 is the UMCA's year end day.] Good thing he had been doubling up on those centuries... snow and ice made the roads impassable for four days in early December. But in the end he made it. Congratulations to Ken for achieving something exceptional, even by his standards.

Not straying too far, the big international event on the club's calendar this past year was the VanIsle 1200... organized by Ken Bonner. Capped at 35 riders the event was offered as a scaled-down version of the Rocky Mountain 1200, but where we would still welcome riders from across North America and beyond (one European who made the trip.) Ken and his crack team of volunteers did us all proud in this inaugural event. Dean Zimmer from Winnipeg joined us for the big ride and offered this summary: "The scenery was magnificent, and the weather gave us a little taste of everything, the organization appeared to be flawless from a rider perspective and the support was perfect." Yup, I'll second that Dean. Ken plans to hold similar events in 2009 and 2010.

It was mentioned above that Ken has already been acknowledged as C-KAP's top-distance individual rider for 2006, as he was in 2005 . In March of 2006 it was announced that BC Randonneurs, as a club, had won the 2005 team honours as well - 16 riders rode 182,092 km to win the 2005 Hewes Challenge Trophy for the second year running. The results are never tallied this early, but our chances look good for 2006 also... even without "Ken factor".

And this just in... I ran into Henry Berkenbos on the road to Iona yesterday. He also has had his biggest C-KAP distance year ever in 2006 - 32,117 km. That figure puts him eighth on the all-time C-PAK annual distance list. Nice going Henry!

And finally, Danelle Laidlaw was the winner of the Roger Street Award for outstanding contribution to the club. The variety, duration and importance of Danelle's many involvements has been extraordinary. Most people will know her as the six-time organizer of the Pacific Populaire, and the person behind turning the Rocky Mountain 1200 from a regional brevet into a prestigious international event. But much of her involvement has been below the radar of most members - sorting out the annual insurance file, revamping the waivers and forms system, introducing credit card payments, controlling the sales and inventory of clothing, organizing many smaller events, and often manning the registration desk at other people's events, booking venues, hosting meetings... the list is very long. And this past year she came to our rescue in a most particular way when she agreed to be the last minute stand-in as president when Bill Kitchen had to step aside for hip surgery. She is the first person to repeat as club president. The award is very well deserved. Brava Madam Pres!

So with many thanks to our outgoing prèsidente extraordinaire and her committee, here's wishing best of luck in the upcoming year to the incoming committee and president Gary Baker. It promises to be an exciting year.

As I write this the machinery is already in motion for PBP 2007 - Paris Brest Paris workshops are planned for both Victoria and Vancouver, rooms are booked at our favourite out-of-the-way hotel in Plaisir near the start in St-Quentin, and riders throughout the province are fine-tuning their personal PBP qualification and training schedules. With PBP qualifying and training in mind, the club is offering two "hell weeks" for this coming season for hard core riders, but there are no easy roads to Paris... Time to start riding everyone!

Eric Fergusson
January 31, 2007

A few links:

Participation Stats Table 1979-2006
40,000 km Award Page
2006 Super Randonneur & BR 5000 list
2006 Iron Butt List
VanIsle Home - 2006 Stories & Photos
Year-round Cycling (about UMCA / C-KAP)
Roger Street Award Page
Paris Brest Paris 2007 - Rider Prep Pages